Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Not That Kind of Girl

Lena Dunham's memoir -- though no doubt somewhat fictionalized -- is on sale today. Not That Kind of Girl is also kind of an advice book by the creator, producer, director, writer, and star of the hit HBO series, "Girls." The book has received some awesome reviews which you can read here, here, here, and here.

Not surprisingly, Ms. Dunham's book tour is not of the usual sort. It's more of a spectacular, complete with warm-up acts who had to audition via videos. Clever and effective, the 11-city tour has sold some 8,000 tickets.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Jeff Kinney, Superhero

Two friends, one saving to buy a dog and the other to pay his share of scout camp, opened up a lemonade stand. Then one day a guy comes along and steals the $35 they made that day.

News of the robbery inspired a lot of generosity among the folks living in that area of Virginia, including Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney.
Isn't it nice to know that there are decent people in this world. Actually, there are a lot of them.

Read more about this story in the Washington Post.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul , Jeff Kinney's ninth book in the series that chronicles the life of middle schooler Greg Heffley, comes out on November 4th.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2014 National Book Award News

April 1st is the start of the National Book Award process for 2014. Publishers can begin submitting books for consideration and the National Book Foundation, which administers these awards, announced their list of judges this morning.

National Book Awards are given in four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature. The majority of judges are accomplished writers within their genre, but the Foundation decided to open the decision process last year to include other experts.

This year's list is available here.

I was asked to be one of the judges in the Young People's Literature category. On behalf of Little Shop of Stories, I feel considerably honored (and a little out of place) to be included with such renowned individuals.

This will be an amazing year of reading. I am looking forward to this immensely.

- Dave

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thank You, James Patterson!!!

James Patterson is perhaps the second best-selling author in the history of publishing. (J.K. Rowling is, after all, richer than the queen.) He is best known for his crime thrillers such as the Alex Cross series. But he is also a force in children's books with his Maximum Ride series and I Funny and I Even Funnier (with Chris Grabenstein), among other titles.

Last fall James announced that he was giving away $1 million of his own money to support independent bookstores.

Wow, we thought, How cool is that!

His only stipulations appeared to be that the bookstore was a viable business and that it had a children's section. (Little Shop of Stories is, after nearly nine years, finally viable, and we do indeed have a lot of children's books.)

To request a grant all we had to do was send in a letter of no more than one page.

Little Shop does a good number of bookfairs at schools in and around Decatur -- some as far away as north Fulton. Several years ago we thought it would be great if we could afford a pickup truck to haul books. As we also send a good many authors out on school visits, the idea gradually morphed into a bus. Then to getting a little old school bus and then converting it into some kind of bookmobile.

So that was our request. It was going to happen eventually, but it would happen a lot sooner with his help.

This morning James Patterson publicly announced the distribution of the first wave of grants -- 55 bookstores (and one regional organization of bookstores) will be receiving a total of $267,000.

And Little Shop of Stories is on the list!

The check came yesterday. There are no stipulations. There are no strings attached.

So ... we're buying a bus. We have absolutely no idea what we're doing, but we'll figure it out.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Little Shop is Closed Today

Out of concern for the safety of all of us who work at Little Shop, we're going to be closed today.

Keep safe and warm!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Little Predictions

Some groups of friends sit around and predict who will win the Grammys. Others gather for the Oscars.

The nerds at Little Shop sit around and guess who will walk away with the big awards in children's literature. They will be announced later this morning by the American Library Association.

Here are our picks for the two awards we focused on:

Caldecott Medal (in order of probabilty)
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown (the only book in either category that everyone picked)
Journey by Aaron Becker
Bluebird by Bob Staake

Newbery Medal (we couldn't find consensus on a winner here)
Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata and Julia Kuo

Good luck to all these deserving authors and illustrators (and to all the other deserving authors and illustrators that we didn't pick to win)!


We didn't do great. Mr. Tiger did not win, but Aaron Becker did win a Caldecott Honor for Journey.

Kate DiCamillo received yet another Newbery Medal, this time for Flora and Ulysses. Kate had previously won a Newbery Medal for The Tale of Despereaux and a Newbery Honor for Because of Winn-Dixie in addition to a Geisel Medal for Bink and Gollie, a Geisel Honor for Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, and was a National Book Award Finalist for The Tiger Rising. Earlier this year Kate was named the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature by the Library of Congress. Wow!!!

Tim Federle received an Odyssey Honor for the audio book edition Better Nate Than Ever, which he also narrated.

You can find all the 2014 ALA award winners here.

Friday, January 24, 2014

2013 Little Awards (for Big Books)

Each January, we anxiously wait for the American Library Association (ALA) to announce its awards for the best books of the year. Some years we celebrate in agreement. Some years we are confused. But regardless of the outcome, we at Little Shop of Stories always have our own opinions about which books deserve to be recognized. As such, we began to issue our own awards last year.

While thinking about the criteria for our awards, we wanted the books selected to reflect the fact that we work at a children's bookstore. We are not librarians, we are not teachers, and we are not parents trying to get our third graders to read War and Peace. We are not held accountable to state standards, core curriculum, or required reading lists. We are booksellers. Our sole purpose is to get kids excited about reading and to become lifelong lovers of books. Our staff reads because we love books and we love kids, and we love talking to kids about books we love. The winners of these awards are engaging, innovative books that we can't stop talking about. They are not just books we love, they are books we know kids will love.

There were some quirks this year. One Chapter Book stood out above all others and there was no consensus after that. As such, no honor awards were given in this category. We did issue an award in the category of Graphic Novels for the first time, though the winner could have fit comfortably among the Young Adult winners.

2013 Little Awards
(for Big Books)
Picture Books  

Winner: The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel)

Honor: Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Dan Santat (Chronicle Books)

Honor: Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Kevin Cornell (Hyperion)

Chapter Books

Winner: Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein (Random House)

Graphic Novels

Winner: Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)

YA Books

Winner: Criminal by Terra McVoy (Simon & Schuster) We should note that Terra works at Little Shop of Stories. This fact did not sway opinion in the slightest. Criminal is a great book. Period.

Honor: Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (Random House)

Honor: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin's Press)

Most Engaging (Person Who Often Shows Up in Place of an) Author

Daniel Handler, spokesperson for Lemony Snicket, author of the All the Wrong Questions series (Little, Brown)

As we said earlier, our sole purpose is to get kids excited about reading and to become lifelong lovers of books. And although Little Shop was deeply saddened that Lemony Snicket did not make his promised appearance in Dectaur, Mr. Snicket's representative was quite engaging. In fact, I would venture to say that everyone that had a chance to meet Daniel Handler was quite impressed; I might even venture to say delighted. It is certainly an experience that we will not soon forget. His morose fa├žade did not fool us.  Mr. Handler had the entire audience, young and old, captivated. Fans of A Series of Unfortuante Events flocked to the store in droves as did fans of Snicket's new series, All the Wrong Questions. Mr. Handler's larger than life persona continued from the stage to the signing line where he took his time harassing each fan in his offbeat idiosyncratic manner. Thank you, Daniel Handler for such a fun visit, and we welcome you to return any time. You may even tell Mr. Snicket that we would prefer to have you in the future.